Note: This is the fifth installment in my series of trip reports from Turkey. You can find the first four here: https://bit.ly/2RQV9jT , here: https://bit.ly/2Q2FWPO , here: https://bit.ly/2B76IOB, and here: https://bit.ly/2DHbDbx
“Aaj main omelette khaayega,” (Today, I shall eat an omelette, spoken in typical grammatically-incorrect Bombay lingo, for the correct word, obviously, should have been ‘khaaoonga’, but anyways, that’s neither here nor there) Thakkar spontaneously blurted out in his typical grammatically-incorrect Bombay lingo as soon as he saw the basket full of huge, colorful round balls.
“But we’ve never seen eggs this size, shape, or colour,” I spoke up, ever the voice of caution (in my opinion. For everyone else, mine was ever the voice of cowardice), “what if they are dangerous?”
Pratik took the opening provided by me with elan, and piped in with one of his legendary one-liners, “Three things will always taste good, whatever the source- whiskey ka peg, chicken ki leg, and bird ka egg!”
Suitable encouraged by this Siddhu-level poetic endorsement, Thakkar duly proceeded to pick up an egg, and carried it along with him to our boat.
When I say our boat, I unfortunately don’t mean a boat owned by us by virtue of us having turned billionaires overnight in Istanbul, but the Sehir Hatlari Government boat that we were taking to go on a Full Bosphorus Cruise till the Black Sea (25 Liras for a 6-hour package, tremendous value for money, btw). And soon, the whistle blew, and we were off, all excited, for today was the day when our holiday was truly beginning, everyone already sick and tired of the ‘ticking boxes’ nature of Istanbul Monuments.
It was a serene journey, for a change, and for 1.5 hours, all we saw were spectacular cityscapes, magnificent villas, and greenery that we had so sorely been missing in the clutter of Istanbul.
However, we were just 15 minutes away from our destination, a small fishing village called Anadolu Kavagi (which I had very smartly written as Analogu Kavagi in my trip notes for some strange reason) when we gout our first inkling that something was wrong…very wrong.
The sunny day suddenly became dark, gloomy, and atmospheric, almost Hitchcockian, and just to amp up the Hitchcock feel, hundreds of birds suddenly filled up the sky overhead.
Excited by this development, Thakkar started taking pictures of the birds using his favourite preset LoMo filter, when suddenly, one by one, they started swooping down on him, as if they were trying to attack him. Actually, the birds appeared to be disciples of Master Yoda, and believed in his famous saying, “There is no try, only do.” So they WERE attacking Thakkar.
Horrified by this catastrophic development, we three boys(I can refer to myself as a boy still only in my stories, unfortunately. Sigh!) stood frozen like Elsa, and if it were just up to us, Thakkar would have been carried away to a place where his Visa would definitely not be valid.
Thankfully, the two girls had much greater presence of mind, and spirit, than us. Medha and Jiggy rushed outside, and together, picking up the heavy anchor of the boat, threw it with great force towards the birds.
It was a direct hit, of course, and within no time, the ominous birds, along with the equally ominous dark clouds, had scattered like the wind. And now, happy and relaxed once more, our boat finally weighed anchor (after retrieving it from the Black Sea, where it had fallen when the girls had thrown it at the birds), and we got out into a picturesque little beauty of a place.
After walking the 1.5 streets of the village some twenty times, we finally decided to sit at a waterfront place and have lunch. While we spent the customary one hour on deciding what to eat and drink, Thakkar opened his bag and taking out the egg with a flourish, told the waiter, “Aaj main omelette khaayega.”
And yes, you guessed it right, as soon as he took out the egg, dark clouds started gathering once again, and thousands of birds started hovering over the restaurant.
But Thakkar seemed to have not noticed a thing, and he was busy translating “Aaj main omelette khaayega” into Turkish for the waiter when he suddenly felt a scratching on his calf (no, not the young one of a cow, though maybe I can introduce one into the story at this point. Should I? OK, OK, stop hitting me guys, I was referring to the calf of Thakkar’s leg, satisfied?).
Curious about the source of the scratching, Thakkar looked down, and was smitten, for sitting by his leg, was the cutest little kitten (Pratik, see, I can rhyme too!). The kitten had the biggest, roundest eyes that Thakkar had ever seen, and he appeared to be looking hungrily towards the egg in Thakkar’s hand.
You can accuse Thakkar of being a lot of things (actually, you can’t, for as Swati said, He’s Buddha!) but one thing you can’t accuse him of is of being heartless. He almsot literally melted seeing the expression on the kitten’s face, and forgetting all about his omelette, handed over the egg to the kitten.
But wonder of wonders, as soon as the kitten got hold of the egg, instead of eating it, he ran towards the place where the birds were gathered, and with one superhuman, or rather, superkitten leap, he landed right on top of one of them. And then, in front of our wonder-filled eyes, the birds, and the kitten, and the egg of course, flew away.
We forgot all about our lunch seeing this amazing spectacle, and decided to get to the bottom of this mystery. We quickly ran towards the boat, and told the pilot, “Driver, unn birds ka peechha karo (Driver, follow those birds)!”
I think the pilot was too stunned at our crazy behaviour to react, and maybe more than a little scared too, for our eyes were wild and unblinking, our hair disheveled, and our faces red (Though in the case of Thakkar and Pratik, it was also due to them not using sufficient Sun screen), and so, he followed our order unquestioningly. And within no time, we were off, leaving all the other passengers behind, who would now be able to get back to Istanbul by the same boat…the next day.
Somehow, we managed to keep pace with the birds, and soon, we had reached the Eminonu Pier near the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. The birds landed on the other side of the bridge, and we rushed to get to the other side too, waiting to take the mandatory selfie or four of course, because otherwise, it just wouldn’t be cricket, as they say back home in England.
By the way, since the reference to England has come up, has nobody wondered till now why Swati from London is nowhere to be found in this day’s pics? I’m extremely disappointed in all of you, and have a good mind of keeping it a secret. But then, just like Thakkar, I too am not heartless, and so, will tell you that she had left the same day for London on an early morning flight, for she is flying to Egypt tonight. Wish her luck, dear readers.
OK, so coming back to the story, we rushed on the other side of the pier, and to the spot where the birds, and the kitten, and the egg had landed….and it was then that we realized the reason behind all the craziness of the day. The kitten calmly walked up to a boat, and deposited the egg in front of a dragon. In his excitement at having found an egg for an omelette, Thakkar had accidentally picked up a dragon’s egg.
As I wrote these last two lines, I got a call from Pratik. By the sound of his panicked voice, I knew that his eyes were glazed over, and something was disturbing him deeply. “Yes Pratik, what is it beta?” I asked him while trying to calm him down. “Baaki sab toh theek hai(Everything else is still OK),” Pratik whined, “magar yeh aapki story mein dragon kahaan se aa gaye?(But where did these dragons come from in your story?)
“They are dragons, Pratik,” I told him jauntily, “They come and go as they want. Who are we humans to think of stopping them!”
The thud of Pratik, or his phone, or both, falling to the ground at the other end told me that all was well with the world, and I could now say Sayonara to all of you in peace. Ciao, dear readers, see you on Monday in Cappadocia with stories of balloons soaring high, and imagination soaring even higher!